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Music and Youth Culture - Essay Example

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Music is unparalleled among the arts in its power to refine, uplift, and concentrate the senses. (A Bennett 2000). At the same time, the "diabolical bawling and twanging" so often passed off as music in our day has an equal power to degrade, eroticize, and desensitize…
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Music and Youth Culture
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Download file to see previous pages Overall, music saturates our culture as no other art form can. It accompanies us everywhere we go: as we ride public and private transportation; shop; use the internet; work in our offices; enjoy recreation at restaurants, movie theaters, health clubs, and the like; in church; and at school. Where music is absent we often bring it along, courtesy of our radios, TVs, walkmans, and musical instruments. Because of its intoxicating, even addictive properties, music has always been recognized as a powerful vehicle for change.
Whereas youth is displayed through style, music, ritual and resistance, television is less spectacular and urban, altogether more ordinary and suburban. The local youth culture is a product of interaction. It is certainly not a closed, local, culture, but neither is it an undifferentiatedly global one. And such interactions could be exemplified in a million ways. The spatial openness of youth cultures in many if not all parts of the world is clear. Across the world even the poorest of young people strive to buy into an international cultural reference system: the right trainers, a T-shirt with a Western logo, a baseball cap with the right slogan. Music draws on a host of references which are fused, rearticulated, played back. (Tracy Skelton 1997)
The youth turned to rock music since it represen...
Since emerging in the fifties, rock music has dominated American culture, and while the styles have changed, the basic tropes have not: Illicit sex, drugs, and rebellion are as distinctively a part of rock music culture today as they were when the likes of Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles first appeared on the scene decades ago. Rock musicians are often held to Josiah Royce's creed of the Romantic artist: "Trust your genius; follow your noble heart; change your doctrine whenever your heart changes, and change your heart often." (Theodore Gracyk 1996).
Rock music began life as a medium of rebellion. Rock is far more than mere dissent; from its corrosive beginnings -- Elvis Presley's defiant sexuality and the subtly leering lyrics of Jerry Lee Lewis -- much of rock and roll has always been about subversion, overthrow, and revolutionary change rather than polite civil disagreement. Rock 'n' roll has been in our collective face from the get-go, always questioning and even assaulting authority and tradition. Sixties counterculture leader Jerry Rubin admitted in his garbled manifesto Do It! that "the New Left [of the sixties counterculture] sprang ... from Elvis' gyrating pelvis.... Elvis Presley ripped off Ike Eisenhower by turning our uptight young awakening bodies around. Hard animal rock energy beat/surged hot through us, the driving rhythm arousing repressed passions. Music to free the spirit.... Elvis told us to let go!" The first theme of the rock and roll counterculture, as everyone knows, was sex. Not, of course, the old-fashioned kind that cemented marriages and begat children, but the modern, recreational kind, the kind that has produced a pandemic of venereal diseases, abortions, unwed mothers, and broken homes. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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